Who to trust?

This topic contains 39 replies, has 30 voices, and was last updated by  Optimist 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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  • #526

    Poly
    Participant

    So, I’m not really sure where to post this question but I thought I’d try it here.

    Living in a rural area, many of our neighbors are, how shall I describe them, isolationist(?). Due to a wide variety of reasons. Some of them are friendly, some down right aggressive, most falling inbetween the two.

    I know having a group/community/clan, can be a strength but I’m afraid I would have a very difficult time trusting anyone in SHTF situation. I also know that talking to your neighbors before above situation occurs has been suggested in many articles and books I’ve read but to me that’s almost opening up a can of worms, they know which neighbor is prepping and has supplies.

    Anyhow, thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss.

  • #531

    annaraven
    Participant

    Maybe start by getting to know them over dinner and discussing other things. Like, find out if they do hunting or fishing or canning or camping. Those kind of things can be a sign of a prepper mindset. If it’s reasonable, talk about the latest power outage in your area. But keep in mind, if they are preppers, they’ll probably be just as wary as you.

    You could also start by sharing or offering to help with something… sharing abundance from your own garden or chickens, or asking if they’d like help getting the harvest in, or whatever. Forming bonds will help and you can get a sense of whether they’re a “taker” or a “sharer”.

    • #684

      CoffeeFirst
      Participant

      Good suggestions Anaraven.
      We have met really good, solid folks through those rather innocuous conversations. People that live locally and think reasonably alike. We take our time to get to know people however. It is vital to be a small group as opposed to being an “island.” The term “strength in numbers” Comes to mind. We were fooled only once. My wife has a keen sense. I’m not shabby either, but one character blindsided us both.

  • #535

    Daisy
    Keymaster

    I think you’re very wise to realize that your neighbors will be your support when/if things go sideways. A lot of folks have a very unrealistic point of view when it comes to creating some kind of magical group where everyone will walk for 17 days and meet at a prearranged location.

    In reality, it’s going to be down to the people who live nearby for most of us.

    Annaraven has some good suggestions above.

    I try to find common ground with my neighbors. If I see that they have bumper stickers that personally make me cringe, I can still get an idea of what their personal philosophies may be. In almost any philosophy, there are some redeeming qualities, like compassion, self-reliance, etc. I look for those points on which we agree and focus the relationship around that. If I see that they have a nice vegetable garden, I try to engage regarding this. If I notice they have children, I talk about that. All in all, I try to be a good neighbor and find that this generally gets the same thing in return.

    Not always, of course. Some people honestly aren’t very nice. The good thing is, you’ll learn that in advance too.

  • #539

    74
    Participant

    Ask for permission to hunt on their land. You will find out which neighbors you can work with. Pick a nuisance animal to hunt, ie, coyote, groundhogs, etc. Most will say no, but one of two will let you hunt. Those are people willing to help their neighbors.

  • #547

    Selco
    Keymaster

    Trust no one with your preps and plans until you get to know them good.

    Meeting new people as a possible friends or members of your group for the moment when SHTF should actually should not start from “are you prepper” kind of discussion.

    It does not mean anything for you if your neighbours saying they are preppers You still do not know what kind of person he or she is.

    And you could on that way just “blow” your plans about preps to wrong person.

    I would start slowly with regular “get to know your neighbours” trough local community activities.

    After that start with joining activities with more sense like getting to know people who are into things like hunting trapping, canning, fishing, hiking, gardening… activities where you will eventually find like minded people.

    And keep in mind just because you might be good person that does not means everybody else is good person.

    So “let’s prep together” or ” I am prepper” should come at the end.

    • #970

      Natty Bumppo
      Participant

      I like the first 3 words from Selco….”trust no one…”

      In our situation we have a few that is aware of preps, helps out and such.

      However, from our experience…..yeah there is limited family and extremely (known all my life) friend. But in the end, when the SHTF you are really on your own with your God.

    • #3107

      I think the hunting angle is interesting but…here is a counter view. I am really isolated. People who have lived in my area for generations have no idea my farm is here. I am bordered on one side by a water and cliff barrier. I have a neighbor a mile away who I trust and another a mile and a half. Other than them, I do not want to disclose my location, nor do I want it widely known that I have livestock. So if someone asked to hunt on my land that I didn’t know well, there is no way I would allow it.

  • #548

    RufusJ
    Participant

    We’ve been in our neighborhood for over 20+ years. Most of the people around we know to wave, ask about their dogs, maybe even go to a mutual friend’s house for lunch. None of them know we prep. The lady I walk with has dropped a few hints but she doesn’t know I prep, and I don’t know for sure about her either. We’re all on acreage with wells and a septic so it’s a quasi- semi- country setting. Lots of coyotes and some bobcats so most have guns. But as to “for sure” know about anyone? Nope. Not even after 20+ years.

  • #551

    Poly
    Participant

    There are lots of good thoughts and ideas here. For me it comes down to knowing the character of the person and those who surround them, and sometimes that is a factor that in my mind is almost impossible to assess during a SHTF situation, and that even applies to me. I’ve learned how to slow myself down to stop and think during a “panic” situation but in all honesty a long term, loss of life and health type event has not and hopefully will never happen to me. Yeah, wishful thinking, I know!
    In the past more people lived in a tighter community, allowing them to know either first hand or by word of mouth, who was a liar, cheat, theif, etc.. Now a days those who are often closest in proximity to us are often the people we know the least about.
    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, this is something I’ve battled with in my mind often, and what point would I be willing to trust anyone walking up my driveway? I’m I fight or flight person or both? I talk the talk but do I really walk the walk, when it comes to defending myself and or my family?

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by  Poly.
  • #565

    Jeanne
    Participant

    I made the mistake of moving to a small town which seemed nice, but turned out to have a heavy isolationist attitude (extremely nice to tourists to their face, disdainful to everyone else unless you’ve lived there for many years). It’s not that people are unpleasant — most are perfectly civil, but not friendly in any sense unless you’re a paying customer in their business (the only exception was the local gun shop, super nice guys there even before I signed up for their charity raffle). It’s clear after a year here that nobody in my family is making any friends, despite reaching out (volunteering at the local food bank, donating to the local senior center, etc).

    It’s frustrating and very discouraging. I chose this town because it was the same type of industry-based town I grew up in, but wow, some of the attitude I’ve gotten after trying to reach out on the FB community group! It’s as though there’s an attitude of “we don’t care what your history is or what you think you know about Topic X, we are special in this regard so your experience doesn’t matter.”

    My best friend of 35 years lives a 2-hour drive away, not far from where we both grew up, and I’m hoping to move very close to her (within a few miles) sometime in the foreseeable future. I just hope the S doesn’t HTF first!

  • #636

    coffee and cookies
    Participant

    Speaking of whom to trust, what about family? My husband and I had a falling out with his family. They don’t prep, and we don’t have much in the regard of preps at the moment. Should we try to put a little aside for them in case they come knocking? Our family is kinda big, so it wouldn’t be much extra.

    • #1040

      annaraven
      Participant

      Speaking of whom to trust, what about family? My husband and I had a falling out with his family

      Oh hell no.

      My biodad – yeah. My brother – yep. Cousins on my mother’s side? sure. The rest of my so-called “family”? Hell no.

      Most of my “family” (especially my father’s side) are assholes. Fuck them.

      My bio-dad is amazing. My bro and my cousins (on my mom’s side) are great. But so-called family aren’t welcome, most of them, to my home in normal circumstances, much less after SHTF.

  • #682

    Anonymous

    I have hard time with this issue myself. I live in a semi rural area. Most houses around here are on 5 or more acres, mostly wood. I have been here for 16 years and my relationship with the neighbors is limited to bringing back their dogs when they wonder around or waving to each other when we drive around. Partly it is due to the way the area is, partly to me not being exactly social.

    What I am doing is observing, gathering intelligence as some guys like to call it. The family that change car every year and has 3 tv dishes on their roof probably is not much into prepping. The guy that works on his old cars all the time and keeps him running probably has some skills. The lady with a well kept garden probably knows a thing or two about growing plants. The other guy who post on the local newsletter praising the local politician for getting in our way in all possible ways, is a total loss. You get the idea.

    So, even if I do not really know my neighbors personally, at least I have some understanding of who they are. Plus, I have a feeling that when SHTF a lot of the people who think are prepared will find out otherwise and will fold quickly while other will raise up to the situation. It might be that the group you’ll have around will be very different than the one you imagine.

  • #1082

    Mama cando
    Participant

    I don’t trust people other than my immediate family, sounds crazy but I’ve learned to be wary of people (long story) long time ago. Takes a bit of time before I trust people.

  • #1386

    HomesteadingMama
    Participant

    I don’t think you need to trust people to make progress on building community.

    Share vegetables from your garden, always wave and smile (you’ll be surprised how easily you can train even the biggest grump to smile at you), just keep acting friendly.

    And consider asking for help with something small. People like helping others and will be more likely to ask you for help if they need it. They will also be more likely to help you again if they are in the habit (I stole that idea from Benjamin Franklin).

    Don’t broach preparedness as a topic. Just keep being friendly and nine times out of ten folks will come around. Hang in there!

  • #1387

    Anonymous

    I don’t trust many people and as far as family, that’s DNA for ya. The vast majority of my ‘family’ could care less about me and mine on good days, don’t both on the bad ones. They don’t call me and I don’t call them.

    Heck, nobody knew I was pregnant with my last child until my MIL seen me at almost 6 months along.

    We could pack up and move today and nobody would be the wiser. My dream is to go to Alaska so if someone’s got a few thousand bucks they don’t need, about 20-30 grand would be great 🙂

  • #1444

    Alberta Mama
    Participant

    I’ll be perfectly honest that with the exception of my husband and son and a very teeny tiny handful of hunting partners, I trust no one. I’ve seen how people can turn when there’s extreme poverty and little food. I dont believe that we can totally make it alone, but I have zero desire to share my preps and prepping ways with my neighbours. I am friendly with my neighbours and keep a good line of communication for emergencies, bartering, and things like that, but I’m still never going to trust them. I stick with the gardeners and hunters, the knitters and fishers. I form tight bonds with the people who say things like “I keep extra canned goods in the trailer in case we get stranded for a week or the roads get washed out”. Tight bonds can develop something very close to trust and that’s close enough for me.
    I’ve literally shown my entire preps openly to 2 people outside my family and those people are like minded. It took years of developing those friendships before I let them know. Even still, that level of trust is still something where I know that one day those 2 people could become my family’s enemy and I have to be okay with that too. Hopefully, they’ll become assets though.

  • #1638

    Valerie Stonecypher
    Participant

    As with Alberta Mama, my husband and I have lived long enough to have learned to trust no one with personal details about our lives. In conversation, we cheerfully deflect probing questions. A down side as put by a neighbor at one of the places we lived was a puzzled comment asking if we were in the Witness Protection Program. We laughed but didn’t deny it.

    We are retired and have no children or family members involved, and we don’t do social media or encourage visitors, so it is easy for us to keep a very low profile. We’re both loners by nature and are content with each other, our pets, filling holes in our preps, and homesteading activities on our small acreage.

    Whenever I get the urge to reach out and form community bonds, I’m afraid common sense always rears its head with visions of the aftermath of Katrina, the unprepared masses in hurricane and tornado zones who rush to the stores the day before the storm hits, and how even “nice” people will do whatever it takes to get from you what they feel they need for their families if they know you have it in an emergency.

    Yes, we’re not part of a village. But we wave to neighbors, chat with local shopkeepers, volunteer with the Extension Service, donate to charity, and just live our lives. If SHTF, we can rely on only the bonds we have from 40 years of marriage. And that works for us — we’ll take our chances on forming any bonds AFTER the emergency starts.

  • #1654

    Inspired Too
    Participant

    Greetings! We have lived in our ‘neighborhood’ for 20 + years. I have developed a “mailing & Contact list” of any neighbors willing to participate, in case of cougar, bear and other sightings or problems, as well as Fire! This past season we had Fires very close, and we were all able to set up sort of a plan to help each other, (moving large equipment, for example,) but noticed that several folks packed themselves and went into town, with nary a word to the rest of any of us. It’s a small list, and the out of towners- Did respond wanting updates, (was Their Land threatened??) So basically, people are pretty Self-serving, and if you’ve a mind to help, there will always be those who will take advantage. So, set boundaries early with these folks. We can tell who they are; “communication”, via a phone list or email or texting goes usually only one way with them. We still help when we can, but we use our discernment and caution with most of the folks. If they are willing to help say, with road maintenance, or contributions to the costs of gravel or using equipment for clearing in heavy snows, it goes a long way to being a good neighbor. We have to be Ourselves regardless. The saying, “It’s just with them”, means just that! Be Kind, but use Discretion.

  • #1749

    James Mitchner
    Participant

    To paraphrase a once popular country song, I was a prepper before prepping was cool. *laugh* I have just always had that mindset of “two is one and one is none”. A few years ago I tried to impress on some (what I thought was) close friends the importance of prepping and why. Their response was, “Oh, they will never let that happen” or “I’ll worry about that is it happens”. They stopped socializing with us, saying that I was too negative. OK, lesson learned. I keep my mouth shut, even if someone else brings up the subject.

    I only trust several close family members and no one else. We might think we have great neighbors and/or close friends to count on when the times are good, but if and when things blow apart we will see a different side of most of them, especially if they know we have something they desperately need and won’t give it to them. Its better they not know what we have. I’m friendly to everyone, but I don’t trust anyone but family.

  • #2180

    James Mitchner
    Participant

    Back in 1993 we experienced a severe ice storm. I was away working a 24-hr shift when it began. Entire region lost power. At home I had firewood under cover. I had 15 gal. of potable water stored in the basement. I had Coleman lanterns and cooking stoves along with other camping gear. We were out of power for three days in a house with my wife and our three teen and pre-teen sons. It began on Friday eve. I arrived back home on Saturday morning. We all slept in our den the next two nights. I used all my wood in the only heat source we had… our fireplace. I had to add wood every hour or so, and we augmented the heat with two Coleman lanterns. By Sunday morning I could see my breath in the kitchen. We had no water because we were on a well. I learned two important things. 1. Fireplaces suck. All the heat goes up the chimney and they consume wood like a starving dog. 2. It takes almost 5 gal. of water to flush the toilet.

    Two weeks to the day we had another ice storm worse than the first. This time it had wind, and we could hear the trees crack and split around us. I am much, much better prepared now, although I thought I was back then.

  • #2195

    DB
    Participant

    Really good posts. I don’t really have answers to offer. Selco speaks truthfully as far as I see it and I don’t really have anything to add when it comes to trust vs not trust. I can only offer my perspective from my experiences.
    For this post, baptism of fire = active, sustained, life threatening situation to you and/or your loved ones beyond your control, not of your design or out of the left field, that you cannot easily escape from. Be it SHTF, societal collapse, extreme civil unrest/war or war. A car accident, your favorite aunt B. passing away, getting mugged, getting bitten by something or someone, breaking you arm in football practice, filing taxes, not getting that pony you were promised as a teenager doesn’t count. While most likely traumatic, that is not baptism of fire that I mean. If someone is trying to kill you, that counts. I mean pucker factor 10+.

    1. No one can ever predict with any certainty or reliability how you or any one else will react to their first baptism of fire, ever…no one

    2. No one will ever be fully prepared for their first baptism of fire, ever…no one. People can act extraordinary and bizarre in those situations, good and bad.

    3. After the first baptism of fire ones’ outlook on life and ones’ self is forever and permanently altered. Your old self exists no longer.

    4. If anyone claims different to #3, they suffer from PTSD, are a liar or are a psychopath. Give it time and you’ll know the answer if you know the person, whether it’s the day after or decades after. Psychopaths don’t seem to change nor seem too affected. (seriously and that is a whole other topic)

    5. Loner types will have the roughest time all around and take the longest time to get back to some semblance of a normal self. And I do mean semblance. The experience of baptisms of fire will always be with that person whether they talk about it or not.

    7. Those with genuine support from friends, family or otherwise will fair far better in the long run and most probably quicker, though not always. No guarantees ever.

    8. Truly getting back to “normal” can take a very long time, maybe a lifetime.

    9. a “normal” or “recovered” person will avoid purposely putting themselves in that kind position again, ever, nor wish it upon anyone and will avoid it if at all possible. Basically directly proportional to their own experience to their own baptism of fire.

    As an aside, my experiences from areas of operations (front lines);
    -Everyone smokes even if they’re ardent non smokers back home.
    -Everyone drinks or wants to drink even if they’re ardent non drinkers back home
    -Everyone finds religion/faith/spirituality even if they’re atheists/agnostic back home.

    And finally, a large part of the world has had first hand experience with war on their soil or homeland that they themselves or close family members experienced. They also have it in their memory or shared family/national/cultural memory. North Americans do not.

    By far the best chances go to those who have true support from friends, family and even like minded folks in any scenario, especially a SHTF scenario.
    I don’t think you can ever mitigate the risk of a bad apple in the mix. You can only be prepared for it and luck is absolutely a factor in anything. But loner types are stepping into a known risk let alone the unknown risks that will surely arise.
    I recommenced to do your due diligence and trust your gut and build a support group/community. Again, Selco has written about it.
    All the best.

  • #2196

    Anonymous

    I hear ya Crazy Me. I only found out my sister had moved when I tried to phone her and got a ‘this number is no longer in service’ automated reply. That was the wake-up call for me and I decided I’d let them contact me from then on.
    So do I trust anyone, well the answer to that is yes and no. No-one knows of my prepping and I’m happy with that and I honestly don’t trust (or like) anyone enough to share what I do. I do have neighbours that I have created a loose network with who if we had a mind we could support each other, but as far as I’m concerned it would be more likely to be just information. However I would never say never.

  • #3110

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    Check out your place on Google Maps.
    I can even see my livestock, the fencing for the paddocks, and even see where the ATV has been. Not just the trails I take on the regular basis, but the ones I only use once in a while.

  • #3124

    Anonymous

    Google maps can be good or bad, in your case Crow Bar, kinda bad.

    I found out with Google Maps that the area I grew up in is, as far as the woods are concerned, gone. Everything has been built up, torn down, or just destroyed. We had trails we could use to get from one place to another that are no longer there. The ditches, the water, it’s all gone. Now it’s concrete, rebar and 2×4’s painted in pretty colors or slapped over with stucco. Or in the case of trailers, tin cans with skirts!

  • #3125

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    Yeah, I see some people worrying about drones over their area, seeing what they have.
    Dont need a drone.
    Google gave it to you already.

  • #3126

    Anonymous

    @Midlander I got something similar with my second oldest child. I had left FB, set it up for deletion and was ready to be completely done with it. Sent him some messages and waited, no reply, waited some more, no reply. He lives on the other side of the state and we’ve had some issues so there is a bit of strain in our relationship but still he is my son. Not quite ready to walk away. He never got my phone message because his number changed, months ago! Now I’m still on FB, but not happy about it, just to keep in touch with him and debating on if I really want to cut that tie. He’s grown and being my child he knows my mindset on things like this. I already know if I don’t make the first contact it will not be made, but when it’s your own child, it kind of hurts.

    • #3150

      Crow bar, checked Google Maps before I bought the place. I am heavily forested, you can’t even see the three story barn. Also the road is a dead end, with bridge out signs at the nearest intersection. I have a dead end, bridge out, road closed sign that can pivot in a SHTF situation and completely obscure my drive. Plus the second floor door on the 3 story barn is a straight shot to the road. Oh and di I mention I have 5 livestock guardian dogs. It’s not perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than where I was!

  • #3152

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    @goatlady Forest Dweller,
    Have you checked it recently?
    They update.
    Back when I first moved in my place, I could see my old truck in the drive.
    Now, I see my new truck. It is only a few months old imagery.

  • #3166

    Yes. I am under a canopy of 8o-100 yr old trees. All 13 acres is old growth forest. Now if they start flying drones in I’ll have a problem.

  • #3201

    namelus
    Participant

    You don’t know someone till you are blood or spill blood. Nice people in normal can turn into animals when it becomes tight.

    I get along with most of my neighbours I would trust none in difficult times. Friend only goes so far if you are eating and they are not.

  • #3702

    woodsrunner
    Participant

    A great article on personal survival experience is at https://www.frfrogspad.com/disastr.htm
    It is a series of emails relating to Katrina and he had a place that some other people went to. Also some observations about lessons learned and stories of some things that happened.
    About feeling isolated in a small town where everybody else has known everybody for years- They really don’t for the most part know what it feels like to be a newcomer and they already have a lot of friends so they don’t feel they need any.
    Maybe you can find other newcomers too. Going to a church and getting to know people that way may help. Yeah, I’ve been there. It just takes time to feel like you belong. And there are always some nice people. One advantage is you more easily learn who the nuts are.

  • #4087

    Nw Prepr015
    Participant

    I live in a busy, suburban area. I have two close neighbors that are sort of friendly. But most people on my block will not acknowledge us. I’m not too terribly bothered by that honestly. Being trusting is difficult. I think paying close attention to my neighbors behavior can tell me a lot about how they are. I know strength in numbers is important for security. I have a few individuals that my husband and I have had trusting friendships with and they have a variety of useful skills but as far as I know they are not true “preppers”. I think if the %&$# hits the fan these people will be able to form a group with us and pool our resources and skills. Is this ideal? No, of course not, but living in suburbia there aren’t too many prospects that are into the self reliance life style. So I suspect my husband and I will have to make careful choices and make the best of it.

  • #18112

    Hello, I’ve read everyone’s take on trust, so far. Trust is definitely a touchy topic for just about anyone with life experience. I.e., we are born into life trusting and vulnerable then little by little or all at once our trust is corrupted and innocence is lost…

    I’m a de facto survivalist, a regular schmuck who recognizes the value of independent thinking and self-reliance. And has begun making adjustments through research, personal economic adjustments (ridding debt reliance, entrepreneurship versus j.o.b.), and experience and practice, steering away from the “oh, everything is gonna be fine” lifestyle.

    Back to trust, I’m obviously no expert on the subject of life, in general, but do have the sense to say that even the “best of friends” can get <i>shady </i>under pressure. That supposed network of “good folk” can go sour and the unworthy neighbor written-off could be the one the “rocks” and decency. You just never know. All that glitters ain’t gold.

    So then, my take is, do trust. Yes, be cautious and discerning. But don’t be too chicken to trust. Don’t be stiff-necked to the newcomer. Don’t be shady.

    I’ll end by mentioning, in retrospect, when I consider those untrusting are often untrustworthy themselves. Myself included. I think we’ve all been there, both sides of the coin. So when it comes to trust, start with the mirror…just sayin’.

  • #18240

    Crow Bar
    Keymaster

    @unrighteous,
    Good post.

  • #18253

    Casper Ship
    Participant

    This should not be an oversimplified issue of “do trust” or “do not trust.”

    There are MANY levels of trust, in between “slightly” to “completely.” You start at the lowest level and take at least one year to move someone up to the next level. Give them slightly greater litmus tests of integrity and loyalty at each step along the way. Complete, or even “almost” complete trust should be something that takes at least five years to achieve.

    Obviously, you can use common sense checklists and intuition to weed out most people, before allowing them into that starting, “slight trust” level. But you better start the process soon, so you can have at least a few trustworthy allies at hand when you really need them!

     

  • #21456

    Littlesister
    Participant

    Don’t know how I missed this. Lot’s of good info and tough questions.

    We live in what used to be country, then urban and now it has grown and still growing so fast, we are becoming our own little town. Traffic is really bad. Bumper to bumper at certain times of the day.

    We have a lot of new neighbors, all younger ones. They moved in with no children and now have at least 3 or more kids. That’s great, but these younger neighbors will not so much as speak much to the older folks that are still here.  We have lost a great many of older neighbors to either illness or nursing homes and the houses are going up on market. So many now that we need to get to know a great many new neighbors if we can get them to be social.  I don’t think I could trust anyone in our neighborhood enough to talk about prepping. Though we will be having one neighbor that rented their house as he is military and getting out in June. They are moving back at that time. Those would be the only ones we could trust talking about our preps.  We even showed them how to start a garden before he got transferred to CA. So he has already said when he gets back he will be borrowing our tiller to get things going again. I taught him how to make pickles and can them a couple months before they moved. So with all that has been going on in this neighborhood, it will be great to have them back here again.  Seems the older folks here just stick together and just a hello, how are you to the younger ones with not much response.

  • #21460

    Tolik
    Participant

    ” Trust no one , suspect everyone ”

    Joseph Stalin

  • #23897

    Optimist
    Participant

    You want a touchstone to get to know your neighbors?  Get together and see if they want to do a community yard sale.  Trade will teach you more about a person’s integrity and thought process than will most any other activity.

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